It’s the New Year, and you know what that means – resolutions! But this year, there’s an easy resolution you can make that will have a significant impact on your health for the upcoming year – visit the Health Insurance Marketplace and enroll in an affordable health insurance plan. It will allow you to see a doctor long before you actually need one.
If this sounds like the right resolution for you, you may want to act quickly. Open enrollment through the Health Insurance Marketplace ends January 31, 2017.
If you still aren’t convinced, here are five great reasons why there’s no time like the present to enroll:
Preventive Healthcare – Health insurance covers the cost of in-network, preventive healthcare services such as health screenings, vaccinations and wellness exams. These types of preventive services are great ways to maintain good health, keep existing medical conditions from worsening, and spot health conditions before they become problematic. Without insurance, these services can be expensive and are often bypassed by uninsured individuals.
Unforeseen Medical Needs – Your health can change in an instant. It is important to be prepared and able to handle any situation that comes your way. Without insurance coverage, the cost of unforeseen medical bills could have a lasting impact on your family.
Prescription Costs – Marketplace health insurance plans also offer prescription benefits. If you or someone in your family is on regular medication, search for a plan that includes coverage for your prescription.
Tax Credits and Federal Subsidies – Depending on your household size and income, you may qualify for premium tax credits to help cover the cost of Marketplace health insurance premiums and cost-sharing reductions, which are extra savings on your out-of-pocket expenses on a silver plan. When you visit the Marketplace, the easy-to-use, online tool will inform you of any premium tax credits and/or cost-sharing reductions for which you are eligible. In some cases the premium tax credits are provided in advance each month to reduce your premium payments. In 2016, approximately 85% of individuals insured through Marketplace plans received premium tax credits or cost-sharing reductions.
Federal Penalties – Individuals who do not have health coverage in 2017 will face fines when tax time rolls around. While the exact rates have not yet been announced, experts say they will likely increase on par with the rate of inflation. For 2016, fines were the higher of: (1) $695 per adult and $347.50 per child, up to $2,085, or (2) 2.5% of annual income, up to the annual cost of an average bronze plan.
UP Health System – Marquette wants to make sure that our community members understand the benefits of health insurance and are not blindsided by the penalties or other downsides of not having coverage. Through the end of January, we have a Certified Application Counselor (CAC) on hand to help you understand your options and navigate the system. Call us at 1-888-982-9144. You can speak to our CAC over the phone or make an appointment for an in-person visit at UP Health System – Marquette. Hours are Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m. – 7 p.m.; Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Saturdays, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
You can also visit www.GetEnrollmentHelp.com for more assistance. There, you can easily access helpful information, including a check list of the documents you will need to enroll for insurance.
By Brian Sinotte, Chief Executive Officer of UP Health System – Marquette